Member Commentary

Sage Misses the Point

Mike Brainard writes:

I think the writer misses the point. Surely we don't want to get mixed up with "bad ET's" but if I may make an analogy to the settlement of the American Continents. Most of the people who came to the New World were not bad or evil people. Yet the extant Indian population was decimated by the contact. It wasn't evil people who did this but a largely God fearing people who wanted to escape their European lives and make a better world for themselves. It wasn't an overt or covert intention to harm or destroy that did the real damage but the cultural contact that ensued. The Europeans were immune to the diseases they brought with them, they were able to consume alcohol because of generations of imbibe, they were territorial, they could read, they could write, they had a higher technology, they could farm, they were more organized, they fought wars where a battle was only part of the whole scene. They were "good" people yet they completely overwhelmed the native population.

The Indians were overwhelmed because the Europeans had a culture that was more advanced than the Indians and because that culture was something so different from what the Indians were used to they really had no idea on how to stop it.

Compare that to todays dilemma on ET's. We hardly understand ourselves let alone a bunch of space-farers. Their cultures are vastly different from ours. They are even vastly different from each other. Imagine us, poor mankind, who has only just stepped out of the animal powered age where a strong back and a good ox or mule was about as good as you were to get and who has actually regressed into believing he is only a smart animal himself, trying to decide which of these overpowering space opera societies we think is best. That is like the "heads I win tails you lose" coin trick! - We lose!!

As I see it our real problem isn't with ET's but with ourselves. We know what our history is like. We know what problems we have. We know our failures. We also know that we are basically good. The problem we want answered is "How do we handle our dark side?" "How do we stop ourselves from doing evil? "How do we become a better race?"

Much like the American Indian gaping at the sail ships anchored in Chesapeake Bay we glimpse at flying objects in the sky. We hear stories of contact, of abductions and we wonder how they were able to overcome the problems of their worlds and travel the vast distances of stellar space to come here. We think that they are superior because of their technology and they should be emulated. They, like the first pilgrims, have certain needs and requests and so a bargain is struck.

Who do you think loses? The space-farer with his larger breadth of knowledge, stellar drives and a logistics line all the way back to Home Planet or the Earthling who lets his governments choose not to solve the problems of mankind but spend large quantities of cash on building bigger and better weapons to blow everyone to kingdom come? Who wins? The American Indian standing in his loincloth holding his spear thinking this marvelous vessel carries the Gods that are going to help him or the Pilgrim with his axe, plowshare and musket intending to stake out his lot in this new land?

Who did win in the Americas and how did the losers fare?

PS There IS an answer to mankind. It is not "from the heavens".


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